Gold Cup entry possible for RSA Chase contender Grands Crus

David Pipe continues to give very little away about the likely Cheltenham Festival target for the dashing grey Grands Crus.

The trainer continues to weigh up the options of the novice either sticking to his own experience division in the RSA Chase, or to go for the ultimate shot at glory in the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Pipe played his best poker face when he was questioned more deeply at a media open morning on Tuesday and maintains he will continue to monitor the situation.

“We will decide nearer the time,” he said.

“We have to see what’s in the races and look at ground conditions and everything else.

“Horses do miss Cheltenham for various reasons, not that we want that to happen, and that will make an impact on which race he runs in.

“I’m just keeping an open mind and we’ll all sit down and have a chat. I’m sure a decision won’t be made until seven to 10 days before the race, and we’ve still got until the five-day declaration stage.

“It’s not that we’re not telling people – we’re keeping our options open – and if anyone wants to back him, they should back him ‘with a run’ for either race.”

Grands Crus shook up the incredible Big Buck’s in the last Ladbrokes World Hurdle and his progress has continued unabated over fences with three consecutive wins at Cheltenham, Newbury and in the Feltham Novices’ Chase at Kempton.

And Pipe says any decision will not be affected by the death of Gloria Victis, an immensely promising novice of his father Martin’s, who died when pitched straight into the 2000 Gold Cup.

“I remember Gloria Victis, and it was a sad day as he was a very talented horse,” he went on.

“But you have to treat every horse as an individual and make a decision on that.”

But on the flip-side, he added: “Is Grands Crus going to be fit and well next year? Is he going to be sound? There are pros and cons and we’ll decide nearer the time.”

He went on: “We have to decide if he’s ready for it and look at the opposition. Those are two things.

“Can he travel at the pace of the Gold Cup? I would say yes.

“Can he jump at the pace of the Gold Cup? I’d say that’s the only issue.

“He has jumped well and was impressive at Kempton. That’s what we’re looking into.”